Updated: Jul 24
Pelvic health physiotherapy or pelvic floor physiotherapy is a type of treatment that addresses issues stemming from dysfunction in the pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor muscles are the muscles that support your pelvic organs and are responsible for the control of bowel and bladder function. Many women suffer from issues relating to the pelvic floor muscles such as urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, or painful sexual intercourse. Other issues, such as back or hip pain, can also be related to dysfunction in the pelvic floor muscles.
What can I expect from a pelvic floor physiotherapy appointment?
Pelvic floor physiotherapy is not offered by all physiotherapists; your practitioner will have undergone specific, additional training to be able to provide treatment for pelvic health. Your physiotherapist will begin by taking an extensive medical history relating to past pregnancies and deliveries, bladder and bowel frequency, and sexual health. This information will help guide the physical portion of the assessment, which may include external examination of lower back and hip mobility. With your consent, your physiotherapist may also perform an internal examination of the pelvic floor muscles via the vagina, or rectum, as needed. Based on the information obtained from these assessments, your physiotherapist will create an individualized treatment plan to help you regain normal pelvic floor muscle function.
What are the benefits of Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy?
It has often been thought of as “normal” to experience these types of problems, such as leaking urine or painful intercourse. Women have often had their concerns dismissed when they have raised these issues. However, women who experience any number of these issues know that it can be very isolating; you may feel unable to participate in your usual exercise
routine, have difficulty playing with your kids, or feel strain on your relationship with your partner. Through treatment by a pelvic floor physiotherapist, you can regain control of your bladder or sexual function, and return to your normal activities, worry-free.
Women who have been pregnant can also benefit from pelvic floor physiotherapy. Whether the delivery was vaginal or by Ceasarean section, pelvic floor physiotherapy will help regain normal function and protect women’s pelvic health longterm. Pelvic floor physiotherapy can also be an effective treatment for persistent hip or back pain that has not responded to other treatments.
Types of pelvic floor dysfunction that can be helped by physiotherapy:
● Urine leakage when coughing, sneezing, laughing, jumping, or running
● Overactive bladder or urge, urinary incontinence
● Fecal incontinence
● Pain with sexual intercourse (dyspareunia)
● Pelvic organ prolapse
● Persistent pelvic, hip, or back pain
● Pre and postnatal care
● Preparation for and recovery from childbirth
● Recovery from surgery (abdominal, pelvic, colorectal)
Pelvic floor physiotherapy can be an extremely effective treatment for these and many other issues related to pelvic floor muscle dysfunction. If you are suffering from any of the above conditions, please don't hesitate to seek help from a qualified pelvic floor physiotherapist.
Causes of pelvic floor dysfunction:
Pelvic floor muscle dysfunction can result from a variety of factors: pregnancy and childbirth (both vaginal or C-section) are common causes, but issues can also be linked to age, menopause, or past surgeries. That being said, pelvic floor conditions can manifest at any age.
The cause of these problems is commonly related to the strength or tone in the pelvic floor muscles. Often the problem is related to weakness in the pelvic floor muscles due to having been stretched or even torn during pregnancy and delivery. Women who do high intensity sports such as gymnastics or weightlifting may also experience weakness due to the repetitive strain that these muscles have undergone.
One thing to keep in mind is that not all pelvic health issues stem from muscle weakness. Sometimes these issues can be a result of increased tone or tension in the pelvic floor muscles, which can be worsened by performing pelvic floor muscle exercises improperly. So, before you start doing “Kegels”, speak with a trained professional to avoid causing more harm than good.
If you are suffering from issues that you think may be related to pelvic floor muscle dysfunction such as incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, painful intercourse, or if you are looking to prepare or recover from childbirth, pelvic floor physiotherapy can help. Through treatment with a trained professional, you can regain control of your bowel and bladder, resume pain-free sexual activities, or protect your pelvic health long-term. If you think you might benefit from this type of therapy, talk to your doctor or find a qualified pelvic floor physiotherapist in your area.
Get back to doing what you love the most.
Not sure if pelvic floor physiotherapy is right for you? Try one of our free 15-minute phone consultations with a trained pelvic floor physiotherapist to determine if your problem can be helped by pelvic floor physiotherapy